File:Central Library 1884.jpg|right|thumb|300px|The first home of the Toronto Public Library
The '''Toronto Mechanics' Institute''', originally named the '''York Mechanics' Institute''', was an educational institution in 19th century Toronto
that became the city's first public library
. It was one of a series of mechanics' institute
s that were set up around the world after becoming popular in Britain. Established in 1830, it was designed to provide technical and adult education.[http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/about-the-library/library-history/ Mechanics Institute]
Paying members had access to lectures, courses, and a library. In 1853 the Institute erected a new permanent home at the corner of Church and Adelaide Streets, but it struggled to attract new paying members. In 1883 the Institute was thus transformed into a municipally-supported public reference library. The idea was promoted by alderman John Hallam, but it met considerable resistance...